WILLIAMSBURG – William & Mary women’s tennis celebrated Senior Day in resounding fashion with a 4-1 win over rival VCU on Wednesday afternoon at the Millie West Tennis Facility. And of course, on the appropriately named day, a senior rose to the occasion to give the program a hallmark win entering next week’s Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
With the Tribe (5-8) leading 3-1 and the top two positions headed to third sets, senior Vitoria Okuyama hit a cross-court winner to break VCU’s Alessia Ciuca at No. 3 for a straight-sets victory to clinch the Green and Gold triumph over the Rams.
After dropping its season opener to VCU (11-8), 7-0, the Tribe demonstrated its improvement and strong form entering the league championship, which will be held at the Millie West Tennis Facility, April 22-25. W&M won the doubles point with victories at the top two spots, including a nationally-ranked win by junior Mila Saric and sophomore Alisia Manolescu to clinch the initial point. In singles, sophomores Elisa Van Meeteren and Raffaela Alhach has strong efforts at No. 3 and No. 6, respectively, to provide the Tribe’s other team points on the day.
Prior to the match, W&M honored Okuyama and graduate student Jill van den Dungen for their contributions to the Tribe program. W&M won for the fourth time in the last five matches against the perennial Atlantic 10 power and improved to 42-12 all-time against the Rams.
How It Happened
– W&M captured the doubles point with matching 6-2 wins at the top two spots. On line one, van den Dungen and Okuyama won for the second time in as many matches, dispatching of VCU’s Gabriela Davidescu and Luminita Tutunaru, who entered the match at 6-3. The Tribe pair improved to 2-0 on the year.
– At No. 2, Saric and Manolescu picked up a nationally-ranked win to clinch the match’s initial point. The tandem upended No. 76-ranked Paola Exposito Diaz-Delgado and Noumea Witmus to improve to 2-0 on the season.
– After a VCU win at No. 5, Alhach won her third-straight dropping just three games at the sixth position. The Tribe sophomore rolled past Shivani Manjanna, 6-2, 6-1, to improve to 4-3 on the year.
– Shortly after Alhach’s win, classmate Elisa Van Meeteren followed with a win on line four to extend the Tribe lead to 3-1. She won matching 6-3 sets to take down Gabriela Davidescu for her fourth win of the year and second at No. 4.
– Okuyama took center stage for the Tribe. After winning the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (2), she won the final two games in pulling out a 6-3 win over Alessia Ciuca for her second-straight win. She broke Cuica in the ninth game, hitting a cross court forehand winner to give the Tribe the victory. OKuyama evened her season ledger at 6-6 with her second win at No. 3.
– Saric at No. 1 and van den Dungen at No. 2 won opening sets before VCU responded to force decisive third sets. Saric took the first from No. 93-ranked Paola Exposito Diaz-Delgado, 6-2, before the Ram player answered with a 6-4 win in the second. van den Dungen claimed the first set, 7-5, at No. 2, before Luminita Tutunaru won the second 6-2. Both matches were abandoned with the team result decided.
The Tribe hosts the 2021 CAA Championship at the Millie West Tennis Facility, April 22-25. Seeding and match times will be released next week. W&M will open play in the event on Friday, April 23, in the quarterfinals.
William & Mary 4, VCU 1
No. 1 – Mila Saric (W&M) vs. #93 Paola Exposito Diaz-Delgado (VCU) – DNF, 6-2, 4-6
No. 2 – Jill van den Dungen (W&M) vs. Luminita Tutunaru (VCU) – DNF, 7-5, 2-6, 1-2
No. 3 – Vitoria Okuyama (W&M) def. Alessia Ciuca (VCU) – 7-6 (2), 6-3
No. 4 – Elisa Van Meeteren (W&M) def. Gabriela Davidescu (VCU) – 6-3, 6-3
No. 5 – Noumea Witmus (VCU) def. Alisia Manolescu (W&M) – 6-3, 3-0, retire
No. 6 – Raffaela Alhach (W&M) def. Shivani Manjanna (VCU) – 6-2, 6-1
Finishing Order: 5, 6, 4, 3*
No. 1 – van den Dungen/Okuyama (W&M) def. Davidescu/Tutunaru(VCU) – 6-2
No. 2 – Saric/Manoslecu (W&M) def. #76 Diaz-Delgado/Witmus (VCU) – 6-2
No. 3 – Alhach/Van Meeteren (W&M) vs. Ciuca/Manjanna (VCU) – DNF, 5-3
Finishing Order: 1, 2*
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